My husband and I spent our first 7 months of marriage living in Northern California, just outside of San Francisco. Now, I’m a lifelong Michigan girl (and an honorary Florida girl of 4.5 years), and living in California was definitely never on my radar. So when my hubby accepted a job offer there in May 2018, during our engagement, I’m ashamed to say, I threw quite a fit about it (sorry, husband).
But fast forward to December 2018, only 3 days after our wedding, hubby and I flew ourselves (and allllll my stuff) out to NorCal, where hubs had already been living since August.
By this time, I had come to terms with uprooting myself and moving to a completely new place that was so far away. (I guess I had no choice, right?)
And thus commenced our 7 month Cali adventure. We actually didn’t think it would be so short-lived — we were anticipating living there for at least a couple years. But unbeknownst to us, God had plans to move us right back to my hometown in July 2019 (who’da thunk it).
Looking back, we’re so grateful for the time we spent in NorCal. We had no friends or family there — in fact we had nothing but work, our tiny 700 square-foot apartment, and us. It sounds a little sad when I put it that way, but honestly? It was a time for us to be with each other — which is so important as brand new newlyweds.
And we had some super fun adventures along the way, which I’d love to share with you. Here are our top 6 highlights from the San Francisco Bay Area.
1. Marin Headlands
We were lucky enough to live just 20 minutes away from this beautiful park with great hiking trails and stunning views, especially of the Golden Gate Bridge. No admission fee and it’s totally worth the daunting drive up the side of a cliff.
2. Fisherman’s Wharf
It can be such a classic San Francisco tourist trap, but we always had so much fun there and it became one of our go-to spots for date night. We especially enjoyed the delicious restaurants, the Aquarium of the Bay, playing in the arcade on Pier 39, and spotting the seals.
3. St. Dominic’s Cathedral
Hands-down the most incredible Triduum I have ever experienced, right here at this Dominican parish in the heart of San Fran. It’s absolutely beautiful (inside and outside), it’s orthodox, and its liturgies are just breathtaking. We spent our first Easter as a married couple here!
4. San Rafael
We lived in San Rafael near the main downtown strip (we could walk there in 5 minutes). I’m pretty sure we tried basically every restaurant and checked out every shop. Our top recs would be Lundy’s for brunch, Sushi to Dai For for sushi, Amici’s for Italian, and Double Rainbow Cafe for ice cream.
5. Muir Woods
We went there on the freakin’ hottest day ever (seriously — it was over 100 degrees out), but the redwoods are absolutely striking and they’re so tall that they provided some excellent shade! Standing inside a tree was a pretty cool perk, too.
6. Stinson Beach
Hubby isn’t much of a beach bum, but I’m always down for a beach trip (must be the honorary Florida girl in me). Even though the water was freezing and the steep, winding drive there made hubby carsick, it was totally worth it for the beautiful views and sunshine.